TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

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TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby bert425 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:26 pm

so.. over 75% in my poll said they wanted a Trip Report, so here it begins!

Way back in 1997, several of my gamer/geek/nerd friends at the time were all excited because the 55th WorldCon was going to be coming to San Antonio (basically ~an hour away from us in Austin).

now we had done day trips up to AggieCon at Texas A&M (think Wizard World tho this was way before that, or a much smaller San Diego ComicCon), but had never been to a "destination" convention that was going to take place over the entire weekend.

so we all excitedly signed up to attend - even tho the main focus of WorldCon is literary. . so although it's Sci-Fi/Fantasy, it's mainly focused on Authors, who made up the bulk of the guest list.

My main interests in Sci-Fi are Media (television, music), although I was familiar with some of the Authors who would be attending. The big draw for me was JMS who was promoting "Babylon 5" - and due to Worldcon being so literary focused? I got to spend a lot of time talking to the man, getting autographs, and buying a ton of the music CD soundtracks from the episodes (which he also signed for me). . so I had a good time.

but once I had spent some time with JMS, I was pretty bored by the rest of the offerings (I don't care about the Nebula awards (for Sci-Fiction writing), or Filking (folkssinging with sci-fi subject matter) is not my thing, nor really is tabletop gaming) . . so although the Con evening activities were kinda lacking in interest for me, there WERE some parties on the schedule that one could attend in the evening hours after the Convention Center floor closed. Many of them room parties, being put on by other conventions to entice World Con attendees to maybe go to their conventions too.

all of that is pre-cursor to explain Dragon*con. As one of the room parties was being held by Ed Kramer, promoting Dragon*con.

won't get into any of the history of Ed - other than to say it turns out he was a vile pedophile, and I'm not sorry he's now gone -- but at the time I met him? he seemed to be a pretty cool guy.

well, the room party for Dragon*con was blasting industrial Music, it was fairly dark, there were lots of folks sitting around in what I'd call "fetish gear" and on the TV they were broadcasting images from the prior year's con & costume contest.

i was enthralled. . THESE were my people: Goths, Fetish, Freaks, Nerds (plenty of Star Trek Uniforms even back then), with a ton to do - over 20 programming tracks full of panels, concerts (the Misfits! Gwar! etc), Drum Circles, dances, and more.

Unlike most conventions (even San Diego Comiccon), Dragon*con is hosted by the hotels, so it never really stops once it starts each year. Yes, there is a dealer's room/exhibitors hall and that does close down. . but since the hotels host, most of the panels/ballrooms stay open all night for the concerts. in other words, there are things to do at 3am: a concert, a movie, a rave, anime cartoons, drum circle.

--> note: this has remained true to this day. the trappings of the con has changed over the years (what was a horror/goth/fetish con when I first started going, morphed into a steampunk/cosplay con, and then morphed again into a more pop-culture focused con - and attendance has responded in kind, going from ~10K when I first started going to over 85K a few weeks ago).

But the basic DNA is still there: there are still horror panels/track, Japanese media track, Anime, NASA (who bring telescopes for star gazing sessions), author readings, signings, bands (Cruxshadows! AJ & Aly), and just sensory overload, staying up all night going from party to party if you want.

Or, if you don't want, you could spend the day going to panels, and be in bed by 11 and up early the next day to spend the whole day in a writers workshop. Dragon*con is what you make of it. But I highly recommend it for folks to experience at least once, as it's unlike any other convention out there.

anyways, I left that room party that night, and the next day we had tickets to the next Dragon*con and had booked a flight to Atlanta for it. (it wasn't on Labor Day weekend back then. . but it has been for at least the past 19 years).

I wasn't prepared for Dragon*con to become an appointment con - if I had, would have bought eternal membership way back when. But it turned out that Dragon*con was exactly as advertised, and I loved it. and have been back pretty much every year since - missing a year or two here or there, but pretty sure this year was my 23rd con. :)

over the years, there has been "con creep" where it starts earlier and earlier. . officially the con is Fri-Monday, but they've had stuff going on starting Wed night, and Thurs as well for years, and so next year Thurs is actually an official day.

we try to show up on Tuesday, and we leave the Tuesday after Labor Day (makes the airport and flying SO much easier to deal with. . not to mention not having to deal with *thousands* of people checking out the same day you are). So we always show up early, do some stuff in Atlanta, hang with friends - since 1997 I've made a ton of lifelong friends, some of whom I only see once a year at Dragon*con, but several of whom I've been to their weddings, or been on cruises with them.

so it's become a tradition to do meals and things before and on the Monday evening after con with some of my friends as we're always excited to see each other during Con.

I couldn't get away from work until Wed this year, but they were kind enough to hold off going to the zoo until Thurs, so I could go with them.


if you want more info on Dragon*con, here's the wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Con


so, that's the history of Dragon*con and me. . here starts the adventure.

on to Day 1, Wed, 8/28:
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Since I took last year off (didn't have the time since I had used it all for Niagara Falls, as well as the TPR USA tour. . it was worth it!), I had to give up my Hyatt Legacy room.

I'm hoping to get back into Hyatt next year (I have some connections, even tho I wasn't staying there this year). . but with this year, I "won" Dragon*con Host Hotel Bingo, as I was able to get a room in the Marriott Marquis.

meaning that after 20 + years of attending, I've now stayed in ALL of the official host hotels.
(vast majority of years at the Hyatt, but a year at the Hilton, one at Westin, and even crashing with a friend one year at the Sheraton).

my flight was fairly early, and we left for the airport at 4am. Got to Atlanta by 10am, and was in the hotel lobby by abour 11:20. They told me they didn't have a room ready for me, but amazing what a small tip, and a chatty nice smile with the desk clerk will get you (the Dragon*con specific room keys were great this year too. . got some extras with a smile, and gave them to my friends who were staying at the Hyatt, since each hotel gets a different design each year. Oh, I got a Hyatt key myself from one of my connections there :P)

I took no pics on the plane, or at the Austin or Atlanta airport. . but utilizing a "trick" I learned from one of my Dragon*con/DigiTribe friends, Rich (who loves drink packages on cruises), the first pic I took was of my room number! So if I forget it, can find my way back here later.

hey, I was expecting basically 6 days of non-stop drinking and partying . . and pretty much did almost that, but never did have to refer to my picture, since the room was easy to get to just off the elevators.
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Looking down from the Balcony outside my room into the interior of the Marriott.

Hate this carpet - they changed to this about 5 years ago -- I guess it hides the stains, but it's so ugly.

guess it doesn't matter tho, since it would never be this empty again - this lobby would be packed (right over there on the left is the pulse bar), just a sea of bodies pretty much from Thurs night onwards.

I'm impressed as hell with the Marriott Marquis tho.. even tho we were on the 7th floor? the moment we closed the room door, really couldn't hear any noise from the lobby (when it opened it was like a tornado when con was going on. but closed? nice and quiet).

I'd stay here again, if I can't get back into Hyatt.
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the room was really nice too. . nice and big, with comfy beds
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the view from my room before heading out to meet my friends.
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Happy to be in Atlanta, and texted this pic to my friends who had arrived Tuesday, and were staying in the Hyatt.

I still had a couple of hours before my "roommates" for the con showed up, so I got ready to head over to Hyatt so we could scope out the attached shopping mall for a snack from Caribou Coffee. . a place we stop at multiple times every year for caffeine fixes.
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turned on the TV in the room, and surprise! even tho it was only Wed? they were already broadcasting Dragon*con TV (live streaming and shows from the panels during Con, and reruns of panels on off hours - so they were showing repeats from last year here) & DCLand (retro panels from cons past)

as noted earlier.. "Con Creep". . was already in the mood, a full day before any real activity started.
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flash forward a couple of hours, and all of my Canadian group of friends have shown up, and we are on our way to the Vortex. It's become a tradition to go to Vortex for burgers at some point, and we decided to do it the first night. Vortex really has the best damn burgers in Atlanta, with lots of options, and some killer drinks. They have two locations: the one at 5points, which is more family friendly (and gets featured on Food channel all the time) or the one on Peachtree. . which is basically a biker bar, connected to a comedy club. We always go to this one. .we love the atmosphere of this one. . in particular the "Phallus shrine" at the front bar, that one rubs for luck as walking by to your table! :P

Marcella (redhead) I met my very first year at Dragon*con and we became instant friends. (she's one of those we flew to Vancouver for her wedding).

Travis and Larry (my two roomates) decided that after flying all day from Canada, wanted to stretch thier legs and walk the 2 miles to Vortex. We all decided to take the MARTA (Atl subway system) to go the few stops (as we were intending to stock up on booze at a liquor store near Vortex, as well as hit Publix to stock up the mini fridges in the room).

so here we are on the giant escalator that goes from Peachtree Plaza (where the Dragon*con Host hotels are) down to the MARTA station.

front to back: V, Marce, Me, Neal (Marce's hubby), and Kevin (V's partner).
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that Phallus Shrine I mentioned? here's V and I posing with it on the way in.

love the stained glass.
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pic is dark, but yeah, *love* the attitude of this place. and the drinks are killer (but just for the food, go here)
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one of the burgers they are known for. . the quadruple bypass!

I know people who order this! (and in a later trip to Vortex with other friends, we watched one of them eat a Double Bypass - 1/2 of this. . .which is still HUGE).
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again, love the attitude of this place.
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The group of us at our table, getting ready to pig out on Vortex food. (asked the waitress to snap pic when she brought us the appetizer plates).

L-R: Neal, Travis (one of my roomies), V, Kevin, Larry (other roomie), me, Marcella. Other than me? all Canadian, from Vancouver across the Canadian Country!

I ended up having a "Hell's Fury" burger (Pepper jack cheese, Atomic Death Sauce, habanero relish, and a roasted jalapeño. Not for sissies.) - which funnily enough, I just saw on Food Network as part of a special where they covered the Spiciest burgers in the USA.

it *was* pretty hot, but with a few Acid Trips (Sailor Jerry Rum, Blue Curacao, Limoncello, lime juice and Sprite). . was so, so good.

here's a link to their menu if you're curious:
https://thevortexatl.com/menus/food-menu/
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oh. . remember those "few" Acid trips I just mentioned? yeah. .they're pretty potent.

here's the pic they snapped of me on the way out. . LOL

we hit the Liquor store, and Publix, and made our way back to the Hotels to stock up the rooms.

then decided another tradition was in order: Drinks at Trader Vic's - on the bottom level of the Hilton

so we all arranged to meet over there shortly, while Travis, Larry, and I headed over to the Hilton to see if I could meet up with some of the folks from the Dragon*con Queerios.. an online facebook group I had discovered who arrange meetups thruout the con just to hang. It sounded like fun and so I joined, and one of the folks I had met in the FB group turned out to know not only several of my Canadian Friends, but also some of my Austin friends, so we had been chatting. So we headed to the Hilton for a Queerios Wed night meet up.
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we stepped off the skybridge into the Hilton (the main 3 hotels at Dragon*con: Hilton/Marriott/Hyatt are all connected via skybridges. . you can do the whole con and never go outside, other than to walk the 1/2 block from the Hilton to the Sheraton, or the 1/2 block from Hyatt to the Westin). . we stepped off the skybridge to pumping music and people ringing the lobby of the Hilton.

looking down, this is why.

yep, inflatable dinosaur dance party. (and this is WEDNESDAY night. . the con has not officially started yet. . not for 2 days). . but here they are. The Hilton had even set up a DJ booth in the corner, and every night there was a dance party in the lobby - tho not always inflatable dinosaurs.

i LOVE Dragon*con.
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we watched for a bit, then made it to the meet up - where we found the (new) friends from Austin, and they joined us in going downstairs to Trader Vic's. . which was PACKED. Our secret had gotten out.

we didn't want to eat (the food is overpriced and frankly not very good), but the Mai Tais at the bar? and the other drinks? pretty damn good.

and the day to go is Wed, since by Thurs. they've already premixed everything in big vats to be ready for the Dragon*con crowds. But on Wed? yep the bartender was still hand mixing everything.

I turned on the charm, and was able to get the hostess to allow me to set up a mini-lounge section in the waiting area, so we could sit with our drinks without being slammed in a massive crowd in the bar. and eventually enough folks left that we were able to move into the bar and take over a couple of booths. . where we continued to hang out and drink and visit with old & new friends.

a great start to the con, tho I knew that I was going to the zoo the next day with Marce & Neal, so was ready to poop out by ~Midnight. So with that I said my goodnights, left many folks hanging out, and went up to the room and crashed hard.

end of day 1 :)
Last edited by bert425 on Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:52 pm.
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Re: TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:47 pm

Inflatable dinosaur dance party. :lol:

This looks like so much fun. We've been to Comic-Con in KC and St. Louis. The girls love it especially. I love all those little unauthorized side events that go on. Geeking out with geeks is great.
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Re: TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby Nrthwnd » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:54 pm

This is like, when all the "wigged people" showed up at the PNE,
on the day David and I were there (the Rainbow Socks Day).

Only there wasn't aggressive dancing w/each other, and just staying - standing - up.
With all who participated. :lol: Jiving T-Rexes Rool!

Great starting report Bert! And so explicit and non-censoring, indeedy! :b

And it's a great looking group of friends you're "Con-ing" (sp?) with, too. :smile:
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Re: TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby bert425 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:37 pm

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Inflatable dinosaur dance party. :lol:

This looks like so much fun. We've been to Comic-Con in KC and St. Louis. The girls love it especially. I love all those little unauthorized side events that go on. Geeking out with geeks is great.


Dragon*con is absolutely appropriate for folks of all ages. . you should attempt to go next year.

if they like comics, the comics track is fantastic and brings in some big guests (this year the most popular were likely Marv Wolfman & George Perez on several panels together)

WARNING tho - the con *is* very different after about 11pm at night - remember it runs nonstop all night. I do see some kiddos out past midnight or at some of the 2am dances, but a lot of those are 21 + for a reason (not just because they sell alcohol at some parties). But I have plenty of friends who come with the kids, and the kids know that after 11pm or so NOT to leave the room. :)

but just note that it DOES get really, really crowded, and these days the popular panels will have lines around the block to get in (although you could always just do what we do when we go to a panel - and I did this year. . go to the panel a few minutes after it starts. you might have to sit pretty far back, but you won't have wasted any time in line).

of course, you could just drink with friends (or make new friends and drink) and spend the whole con partying :)


Nrthwnd wrote:Great starting report Bert! And so explicit and non-censoring, indeedy! :b

And it's a great looking group of friends you're "Con-ing" (sp?) with, too. :smile:


thanks Bill.

these are "the Canadians". . my core group of friends, but they're also a subset of the DigiTribe folks (where we all spend most of our time at Dragon*con. . in the "DigiSuite". . where the tribe hangs out and plays games, drinks, socializes, and watches the Masquerade - with running "MST3K" type commentary from the peanut gallery (ie: all of us). No picking on children's costumes tho, that's the rule, everyone else in Masquerade is fair game :p

and what do you mean, explicit? moi ? certainly not, I know to keep it PG13 here :p
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Re: TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby tinaalsgirl » Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:04 pm

I've always said I'd love to go to Dragon*Con, just so I could see all the amazing cosplay in person.... but I didn't know the attendance was *85K*!!! The largest con I've been to so far was Anime Midwest this year, and that's only about 15k; before that, the largest one I'd been to was around 3k.

I don't know if I'd be able to handle going to such a large con unless I had lots of friends with me. Of course, I'd go to this con as a congoer rather than as a guest/staff, so I wouldn't have any obligations like I normally do (I help my friend run his portable manga library, and starting this year, I also helped his boyfriend with his pachinko parlor), so I imagine I would be a little less overwhelmed because any time I need to take a break, I would be able to without having to make sure someone is there to take my place like when I'm working at a con.

I LOVE those pictures of the inflatable dinosaur dance party! Now *that* is something I'd love to do!

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Re: TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby IntaminLove » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:44 pm

bert425 wrote:--> note: this has remained true to this day. the trappings of the con has changed over the years (what was a horror/goth/fetish con when I first started going, morphed into a steampunk/cosplay con, and then morphed again into a more pop-culture focused con - and attendance has responded in kind, going from ~10K when I first started going to over 85K a few weeks ago).


The "underground" aspect of the Con, especially the fetish stuff, started going away because of the Ed Kramer news. The remaining owners were doing damage control and went with a more "family friendly" direction. I doubt most of the con goers know about Ed and it hasn't stopped those that do from going. The con is still lots of fun, but it would be nice if the "underground" started making it's way back into the program.

It is amazing how fast the attendance has increased over the last 10 years. The "family friendly" direction definitely worked in their favor. It went from crowded to an uncomfortable level of crowded last year. Attendance was up again this year, but people were spread out better between the connected hotels. I didn't hear any talk of capping badge sales this year and hopefully it doesn't get to that point.

bert425 wrote:But the basic DNA is still there: there are still horror panels/track, Japanese media track, Anime, NASA (who bring telescopes for star gazing sessions), author readings, signings, bands (Cruxshadows! AJ & Aly), and just sensory overload, staying up all night going from party to party if you want.

Or, if you don't want, you could spend the day going to panels, and be in bed by 11 and up early the next day to spend the whole day in a writers workshop. Dragon*con is what you make of it. But I highly recommend it for folks to experience at least once, as it's unlike any other convention out there.


Dragon Con is amazing and I highly recommend checking it out. It has the best programming out of any con I've been to. There is something for everyone and it's offered almost 24 hours. There is so much to do that it's impossible to do everything you want. That's partially by design, but the con is so much bigger now. I find it best to come up with a list of a few things you would really like to do and go with the flow the rest of the time. It's less stressful and plans fall apart quickly, especially if you're partying. It's easy to get caught up partying at the Marriott or in a room until the early hours of the morning.

bert425 wrote:I wasn't prepared for Dragon*con to become an appointment con - if I had, would have bought eternal membership way back when.


Same and now I kick myself for not buying it when it was affordable. I would have gotten my monies worth about now. The eternal price keeps going up and it's outrageous. Not worth it anymore.

bert425 wrote:over the years, there has been "con creep" where it starts earlier and earlier. . officially the con is Fri-Monday, but they've had stuff going on starting Wed night, and Thurs as well for years, and so next year Thurs is actually an official day.


I love the "con creep". My group has joked about it for a while that we'll have to start arriving on Monday so we don't miss anything. I always get there Wednesday morning and it's fun that there's more going on now. Wednesday is the new Thursday. I'm thrilled that Thursday is an official day now and I'm surprised it took them this long. I'm curious how much more programming will be added.

 
bert425 wrote:I had to give up my Hyatt Legacy room. I'm hoping to get back into Hyatt next year (I have some connections, even tho I wasn't staying there this year). . but with this year, I "won" Dragon*con Host Hotel Bingo, as I was able to get a room in the Marriott Marquis.


It sucks that you had to give up your legacy room. I heard from friends with legacy rooms that the Hyaty doesn't offer legacy rooms anymore. Hopefully that isn't the case and I know rooms open up within a few months of the con. The Hyatt was just sold the other day so who knows what will happen. The new ownership plans on sinking a lot of money into the hotel for upgrades so that's exciting.

A friend used to deal with the Marriott hotel madness in October when bookings started. He would sit there with a few devices and always got lucky. I stayed at the Marriott my first year and won't go back. Mainly because my group rents a condo and it's a much better experience. Marriott rooms are nice, but they're on the smaller side. Waiting for the elevators is a nightmare and you're packed in there like sardines. It was cool staying where a lot of the action is though. The other guests were cool because I didn't get kicked out after testing my friends potato gun in the room.

bert425 wrote:Hate this carpet - they changed to this about 5 years ago -- I guess it hides the stains, but it's so ugly.


No one likes the new skid mark carpet. I never noticed any stains on the classic carpet, but stains could have been one reason to change it. It was sad to see it go. The cult of the carpet is alive and well. Even WWE wrestlers Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are in the cult.

bert425 wrote:Vortex really has the best damn burgers in Atlanta, with lots of options, and some killer drinks.


I just found out about the Vortex about a week before the con this year. The menu and atmosphere are up my alley. I tried to get my group to go there Wednesday night, but they decided to start partying early instead. Hopefully next year I'll check it out.

bert425 wrote:we stepped off the skybridge to pumping music and people ringing the lobby of the Hilton.

looking down, this is why.

yep, inflatable dinosaur dance party. (and this is WEDNESDAY night. . the con has not officially started yet. . not for 2 days). . but here they are. The Hilton had even set up a DJ booth in the corner, and every night there was a dance party in the lobby - tho not always inflatable dinosaurs.


The Hilton finally realized they could make more money from Dragon Con attendees a few years ago. They started with upgrading the hotel and gradually added more party spaces. The Hyatt used to be the secondary hang out hotel now it's the Hilton. It went from being the photoshoot hotel to a party hotel. It's pretty fun now and sometimes more fun than the Marriott.


bert425 wrote:
ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Inflatable dinosaur dance party. :lol:

This looks like so much fun. We've been to Comic-Con in KC and St. Louis. The girls love it especially. I love all those little unauthorized side events that go on. Geeking out with geeks is great.



Dragon*con is absolutely appropriate for folks of all ages. . you should attempt to go next year.

WARNING tho - the con *is* very different after about 11pm at night - remember it runs nonstop all night. I do see some kiddos out past midnight or at some of the 2am dances, but a lot of those are 21 + for a reason (not just because they sell alcohol at some parties).

but just note that it DOES get really, really crowded, and these days the popular panels will have lines around the block to get in.


You and the kids will have fun and a majority of the con is family friendly. There's plenty of programming, photoshoots, dealers, artists and games to check out. It's That changes around 10PM in the Marriott and 11PM in the Hyatt and Hilton. That's when the partying and lewdness starts. Nothing extreme happens so even if your kids were there later then they would be okay. The hotels go from PG 13 to R. Look up Dragon Con videos on youtube to get somewhat of an idea of what it's like.

tinaalsgirl wrote:I've always said I'd love to go to Dragon*Con, just so I could see all the amazing cosplay in person.... but I didn't know the attendance was *85K*!!! The largest con I've been to so far was Anime Midwest this year, and that's only about 15k; before that, the largest one I'd been to was around 3k. I don't know if I'd be able to handle going to such a large con unless I had lots of friends with me.


If you liked Anime Midwest then you'll love Dragon Con. Anime isn't really prevalent there, but it has a place. There's a good mix of comics, sci fi, fantasy, pop culture, anime, etc. The cosplay is one of the main reasons why I go. There are so many high quality costumes, which I love. There are tons of cosplayers of all skill levels and everyone is welcome. Don't let the attendance scare you away. It's gets crowded, but no worse than a park on a busy day. Remember the 85k was badge sales for 4 days. That's for 4 day badges and individual day badges. Saturday is the busy day and the rest vary. You can have plenty of fun by yourself, but Dragon Con is more fun and affordable with a group of friends.

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Re: TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby bert425 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:59 pm

tinaalsgirl wrote:I've always said I'd love to go to Dragon*Con, just so I could see all the amazing cosplay in person.... but I didn't know the attendance was *85K*!!! The largest con I've been to so far was Anime Midwest this year, and that's only about 15k; before that, the largest one I'd been to was around 3k.

I don't know if I'd be able to handle going to such a large con unless I had lots of friends with me. Of course, I'd go to this con as a congoer rather than as a guest/staff, so I wouldn't have any obligations like I normally do (I help my friend run his portable manga library, and starting this year, I also helped his boyfriend with his pachinko parlor), so I imagine I would be a little less overwhelmed because any time I need to take a break, I would be able to without having to make sure someone is there to take my place like when I'm working at a con.

I LOVE those pictures of the inflatable dinosaur dance party! Now *that* is something I'd love to do!


go. .don't be scared by the crowd - the con is SO spread out, that even when it's packed, it's not unbearable.

EXCEPTION: anytime on Sat or Sunday from ~10am-6pm, if you have to get to a panel or something in the Hilton from the Hyatt, or vice versa? *walk outside*. . the Marriott is ALMOST unpassable - it's wall to wall bodies on the level with skybridge from Hyatt/Peachtree center (made worse by the "robots" (pics in an upcoming update) finding a home in the central meeting space - where the two skybridges converge before going into the Marriott proper.. it makes the traffic jams even worse).
and if you CAN get into the Marriott? going down two levels for the Hilton Skybridge is just as bad.

its not impossible to get thru the crowd. . but it will take way longer than you are expecting. so. . yeah, if you have to get from one hotel to the other during height of con? outside is the way to go :)

and if you enjoy things like the Horror Track (which is in the Westin typically), or the Buffy/Firefly tracks (over in the Sheraton). . you likely wouldn't even have to leave those hotels, as every panel - other than "main" programming. . would be over in those hotels.

Dragon*con is amazing

(and yes, the ditched the asterisk when they bought out Kramer, and changed the logo to start fresh. . but they can have the asterisk from my cold, dead, hands.. LOL)
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Re: TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby bert425 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:21 pm

IntaminLove wrote:
bert425 wrote:--> note: this has remained true to this day. the trappings of the con has changed over the years (what was a horror/goth/fetish con when I first started going, morphed into a steampunk/cosplay con, and then morphed again into a more pop-culture focused con - and attendance has responded in kind, going from ~10K when I first started going to over 85K a few weeks ago).


The "underground" aspect of the Con, especially the fetish stuff, started going away because of the Ed Kramer news. The remaining owners were doing damage control and went with a more "family friendly" direction. I doubt most of the con goers know about Ed and it hasn't stopped those that do from going. The con is still lots of fun, but it would be nice if the "underground" started making it's way back into the program.

It is amazing how fast the attendance has increased over the last 10 years. The "family friendly" direction definitely worked in their favor. It went from crowded to an uncomfortable level of crowded last year. Attendance was up again this year, but people were spread out better between the connected hotels. I didn't hear any talk of capping badge sales this year and hopefully it doesn't get to that point.


agreed with most everything you say, tho many of the "classic" underground stuff HAS made it to the main programming (and are super popular): the kilt blowing (which went from post midnight in a very lower level of the Hyatt back in the day?. . .now in a gigantic ballroom and on the official schedule), the Spectrum Party (which started off as the Rainbow Flag party from Eric & the TrekTrack, hosted in their smallish track rooms.. . now on the official schedule and jam packed every year)

there were absolutely complaints about them not capping sales (I have lots of friends that work for/with the con).. mainly from those complaining about the long waits to get into the Dealer's room. I totally understand the rationale and safety issues, and why it was ONE ENTRANCE ONLY this year. but if you looked at those *massive* lines (which never stopped moving, but still took a while to get in). .majority of them were 1 day passes on Sat or Sunday.

next year? one of my many dealer friends is getting me a badge that will let me bypass (since I really only go in to visit with them anyways). Several offered, and I demurred this year. . next year? I'll take them up on it!

I do miss some of the "interesting" panels that used to take place in the middle of the night, and they still DO happen. . but are "pop ups" really. .not official. But I get that it's a bit more family friendly than it used to be :)


IntaminLove wrote:
bert425 wrote:But the basic DNA is still there: there are still horror panels/track, Japanese media track, Anime, NASA (who bring telescopes for star gazing sessions), author readings, signings, bands (Cruxshadows! AJ & Aly), and just sensory overload, staying up all night going from party to party if you want.

Or, if you don't want, you could spend the day going to panels, and be in bed by 11 and up early the next day to spend the whole day in a writers workshop. Dragon*con is what you make of it. But I highly recommend it for folks to experience at least once, as it's unlike any other convention out there.


Dragon Con is amazing and I highly recommend checking it out. It has the best programming out of any con I've been to. There is something for everyone and it's offered almost 24 hours. There is so much to do that it's impossible to do everything you want. That's partially by design, but the con is so much bigger now. I find it best to come up with a list of a few things you would really like to do and go with the flow the rest of the time. It's less stressful and plans fall apart quickly, especially if you're partying. It's easy to get caught up partying at the Marriott or in a room until the early hours of the morning.


oh, the app is really good, and I had at LEAST 4 things to do in every timeslot every day. But I knew I wouldn't go to many / any of them. .and that's exactly what happened.

after going for so many years? I don't really do a lot other than hang with friends, go to concerts and parties, and of course the Art Show. I might go into a panel or two. . . in all seriousness? I did TWO Panels this year. and Both of them ended up being on Sunday.

yes, it took me 3 days to go to a panel - but it's not like I wasn't having a blast without going to any.

oh, and the 1st one? I wasn't expecting to get in. . it was just a case of "I'll swing by, and if can't get in, I'll have breakfast" (it was the full cast of Black Lightning). But I was stunned to see I could walk right in (10 minutes after it started) and go right to the 3rd row. Of course, it was a 10am panel, on the day after the Spectrum Party (the show has tons of LGBTQ fans) and the Heroes & Villians Ball (duh). . . so most of those who would have attended? were asleep.

the other panel I ended up in? thought i was going to hear William Shatner ramble on - seen him before anyways, and was an excuse to get off my feet. . but went into the wrong ballroom and was way at the back of Catherine Tate. She was funny, so I stayed (until I got a text to meet my friends)

I love Dragon*con :)


IntaminLove wrote:
bert425 wrote:over the years, there has been "con creep" where it starts earlier and earlier. . officially the con is Fri-Monday, but they've had stuff going on starting Wed night, and Thurs as well for years, and so next year Thurs is actually an official day.


I love the "con creep". My group has joked about it for a while that we'll have to start arriving on Monday so we don't miss anything. I always get there Wednesday morning and it's fun that there's more going on now. Wednesday is the new Thursday. I'm thrilled that Thursday is an official day now and I'm surprised it took them this long. I'm curious how much more programming will be added.


they've had a lot of workshops for years on Thurs, and Wed night is typically an offsite burlesque. . but what I think got them to finally go "official" on Thurs?

the Bunny Hutch Party

it's been the kick off for con for several years now, and is SUPER popular. . and it's Thursday night. So I really do think this is what got them to pull the trigger and say. . ok, Thurs is now official. ya happy???

there were good bands playing Thursday night too.

but I don't expect much during day, to be honest..they aren't going to ask Dealers to open early, that's gonna stay Friday. and I can't imagine a lot of extra talent coming in on Thurs for panels. So likely just a few fan run things, more "Newbie" tours (they were VERY popular this year) and picking up badges.

we went to the Zoo on Thurs during the day :)



IntaminLove wrote:
bert425 wrote:I had to give up my Hyatt Legacy room. I'm hoping to get back into Hyatt next year (I have some connections, even tho I wasn't staying there this year). . but with this year, I "won" Dragon*con Host Hotel Bingo, as I was able to get a room in the Marriott Marquis.


It sucks that you had to give up your legacy room. I heard from friends with legacy rooms that the Hyaty doesn't offer legacy rooms anymore. Hopefully that isn't the case and I know rooms open up within a few months of the con. The Hyatt was just sold the other day so who knows what will happen. The new ownership plans on sinking a lot of money into the hotel for upgrades so that's exciting.

A friend used to deal with the Marriott hotel madness in October when bookings started. He would sit there with a few devices and always got lucky. I stayed at the Marriott my first year and won't go back. Mainly because my group rents a condo and it's a much better experience. Marriott rooms are nice, but they're on the smaller side. Waiting for the elevators is a nightmare and you're packed in there like sardines. It was cool staying where a lot of the action is though. The other guests were cool because I didn't get kicked out after testing my friends potato gun in the room.


it's absolutely a different experience staying in a host hotel. . in the middle of everything.

the trick with Marriott is to stay on a floor below 10. *EVERY* elevator stops at 10.. so you just get in whichever one opens, and then just walk down to your floor (since down is easier than going up steps).

the trick with the Hyatt?. . .well. . I'm not gonna tell you that. . LOL. . .but we've NEVER had any issues getting to any room in the Hyatt. (even with the changes that one now needs a room key to work the elevators there).

as to the Hyatt legacy rooms? not true they ended them, as many of my friends are already booked for next year via Legacy. However, one of my "contacts" at the Hyatt did inform me that for 2021 they will be "starting the lotto over" so new folks will have a chance to get onto Legacy.

Hilton, Hyatt, and Sheraton all do "legacy" in that if you stay there, you can book for next year while you are in the hotel.
Westin & Marriott are basically the Hunger Games tho. . LOL. (Westin opens on the 20th (tomorrow??) I believe for booking).

IntaminLove wrote:
bert425 wrote:Vortex really has the best damn burgers in Atlanta, with lots of options, and some killer drinks.


I just found out about the Vortex about a week before the con this year. The menu and atmosphere are up my alley. I tried to get my group to go there Wednesday night, but they decided to start partying early instead. Hopefully next year I'll check it out.


I went THREE times this year (every time with different friends).

if you can't find someone to go with, reach out to me, I'll always go with :)
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Re: TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby Canobie Coaster » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:01 am

Great report. Vortex looks amazing! I'm now mad my friend didn't take me there when I visited him in Atlanta.
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Re: TR: bert does Atlanta - Animals, Cosplayers, & Coasters

Postby bert425 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:01 pm

^ it really is, and you need to go back now and force him to take you :)


working on the Zoo pics from the next morning, but won't be able to get them posted before I have to head out to see Nitzer Ebb tonight (yeah!!).

so until tomorrow for those.. here are a few pics I had filed weird that go with the Wed stuff:
VUWA7330.JPG
after checking in when I headed to the Hyatt to meet my friends (whom I hadn't seen since Feb 2017 when we all went on that Bear Cruise - I have a TR about that on here somewhere :p), we stopped to take a pic to send to my Spouse. . who knows Neal & Marce from when we went to their Wedding in Stanley Park up in Vancouver. . and from the Bear Cruise, of course).
WEHO7952.JPG
we even blew him some kisses. . . LOL

(was not drunk yet, just excited to see them again) :)
HHBT8158.JPG
when checking out the attached mall next door (who knows they make a crapton of $$ during Dragon*con, so stay open late), we wandered down to the Metro Diner - a 24Hour place that's been at the end of the mall for years and years.

this place gets PACKED during Con, and they raise their prices. . . (and thin their slices) what they are "famous" for in Atlanta are the huge cakes. BEFORE con, the slices of cake are gigantic (Shareable by 4). . during con, the price goes up a few bucks and the slices get thinner.

i don't fault them for that. . Capitalism!!

they are great for eggs, pancakes, or, yes, cake at 3 or 4 am when they aren't too busy. Damn good coffee here too.

At least once during Con we try to stop here for cake - tho I didn't make it there for cake until the very last night in town. Did make it there earlier for Pancakes on Friday tho!

above is the Cake menu.
IMG_8545.JPG
oh. .here are some of the cakes themselves
YJLN5666.JPG
and here's a shot of buzzed bert, after Vortex, and the Liquor store. . sitting in Publix with the alcohol, while they shop for snacks.

yes. .all those bags are full o booze.
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